Given that almost half of the adult population within the United States has hemorrhoids by the time they reach 50, it’s imperative to look into the causes and treatments. In some published studies, the instance of worsening hemorrhoids has also been linked to the use of sitting toilets. However, whether the claim is true or false, has not been proven yet.
So, can squatting help in preventing hemorrhoids? Let’s find out.
Exercising with Hemorrhoids
Squatting – How Effective or Ineffective Is It?
One of the most important aspects that medical researchers often focus on as they attempt to understand hemorrhoids better is studying the posture for defecation. Earlier, the common posture that people adopted was squatting, and even today, a huge chunk of the world’s population resorts to it.
Due to the emergence of pedestal toilets, the practice of adopting the squatting posture has died down in a number of countries around the world. However, more than squatting, it may be the practice of sitting, contributing to a range of health problems.
Physiologists and physicians agree that squatting is the best posture to support the defecation process. However, there isn’t much to prove or disprove the theory due to very little research done into the matter.
While you sit or stand in a normal position, the anorectal angle due to it may either prove to be an obstacle to proper defecation or work to provide continence. Again, there are both agreements and disagreements on the matter.
For instance, according to Tagart (1966) research, the anorectal angle straightens out when we squat. As a result, we experience reduced pressure while defecating. It is also recommended that we practice the hips-flexed position while defecating as it helps prevent hemorrhoids and treat constipation.
Hence, to conclude that squatting may help cure hemorrhoids is the same as saying that it prevents injury and aggravation due to straining in the classic sitting position. However, to challenge this conclusion, more research started making rounds online. For instance, another study concluded that sitting or squatting made no difference to the required amount of straining.
Regardless, straining excessively can cause significant discomfort and to get rid of it, engaging in the right type of physical activity is imperative. Here are some tips to help you exercise effectively with hemorrhoids.
Tips For Exercising With Hemorrhoids
Engage In a Warm-Up
If you wish to reduce any instances of injury, make sure to dedicate at least five to ten minutes to a good warm-up (by stretching, engaging in aerobics, or brisk walking)
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
In order to improve your bowel movement, you must work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. This way, your muscles will have enough control when it comes to avoiding straining.
One of the best ways to start is by doing kegel exercises that involve contracting and relaxing the muscles. In fact, you can also make this workout a part of your warm-up regime.
Carry Weights Carefully
While weight lifting is fun, you must ensure that it doesn’t contribute to your hemorrhoid flare-up. And so, the best strategy is to start slow. Scale it back and help yourself relax before your body is ready to deal with a greater amount of weight.
Remember, if you can’t lift it for at least 12 repetitions comfortably, you may want to consider reducing it. Increase the weight only when it’s safe enough and when you’ve healed completely.
Pay Attention to Your Breath and Form
While you work out, you must pay close attention to your form and breath as it can significantly add to the pressure on your anal region. If you squat too low, then you may end up putting greater pressure there, which is why setting an appropriate limit to how much you should dip is extremely important.
Secondly, make sure not to push out air against the anus. If you must do it, push it against the abdominal wall and avoid rushing it. Stick to controlled and slow movements for as long as possible.
Also, pay attention to your posture because maintaining a good one will help you avoid excessive straining as you learn to involve a balanced distribution of your muscles. With regards to the breath, never hold it. Breathe in as you lower the weight and breathe out when you lift the weight.
Take Some Time to Rest
Carrying workouts without a reasonable amount of break in between may worsen your condition. Hence, space them out adequately. Exercise on alternative days or take at least a day off in between so you don’t end up injured due to muscle strain.
It may take a few days or even weeks for you to determine the right amount of exercise for your body. Hence, monitor your habits and make necessary adjustments before you stick to a certain routine. Then, doing squats or lifting weight may not be as much of a problem with hemorrhoids.
The Bottom Line
Last but not least, while working out is essential with or without complications of hemorrhoids, make sure not to ignore any signs of pain. Working toward a fitness goal in mind can indeed make us want to take on as much pain as possible. However, it isn’t always a smart move, especially if your anal region has been undergoing discomfort due to hemorrhoids. In that case, pain is a huge giveaway that something isn’t right.
All in all, squatting, much like any other form of workout, is only as good or bad as we make it. Having the right amount of control on your pelvic floor muscles will therefore be the key to determining whether this form of exercise suits you.
In case your condition worsens, stop the activity right away, take a breather, hold back for at least a day or two and get back at it only once your symptoms have completely become stable.